Exclusive Premiere: Check Out “Others”, The Debut Single From Former Brave Young Lion Drummer Hunter Cannon’s New Coywolfe Project.
Hunter Cannon never intended to be a solo artist. But when the lead singer of Brave Young Lion, the Denton band he’d long drummed for, moved away to pursue a career in the film industry, his hand was kinda forced.
“He’s doing well thankfully, and nobody faulted him for trying to pursue his dream,” Cannon says. “But it was definitely a rough transition period because he left about two weeks before our Bleeding Knees EP was set for release in late October 2015. It was the first thing we were all genuinely proud of making, so it was kind of a bummer to not get to play at least one release show or see it through a bit further — especially since the four of us had been making music together since our 1st show at our Junior Prom back in 2009.”
At the time, Cannon was a senior at the University of North Texas, just a few months removed from a December graduation. Like most young adults at that point, he wasn’t necessarily certain what the future held for him at that point; he just knew he wasn’t ready to give up on music just yet. So he dug up some old riffs and melodies he’d written that never quite fit the Brave Young Lion mold and started to tease them out. He liked what he heard — enough so to book some studio time at Denton’s Redwood Studio and start recording what he had.
Around that same time, Cannon got himself another music gig — stepping out from behind his kit and playing guitar in the also Denton-based Birds of Night. If nothing else, he credits that move with upping his guitar chops. And that would serve him well with his solo material. Or, well, it gave him enough confidence, anyway, to muster up some courage and ask Midlake players McKenzie Smith and Joey McClellan if they’d be interested in joining him in the studio.
“Fortunately for me, they said yes,” Cannon says. “It’s always been on my bucket list to make music with those guys, so I’m so grateful — because they made each song exponentially better than it would’ve been if I just did everything myself.”
Turns out, that became the model for the whole project. Cannon started asking musicians he respected from around town to either play with him on the songs or to help him record them in other capacities. And he kept hearing yes: On the songs he’s finished recording on his forthcoming debut The Future You Fear EP, Cannon’s scored help key figures behind Son of Stan and Israel Nash’s backing band, the aforementioned Midlake players and also members of other bands, including Birds of Night and the Strokes cover band for which Cannon now drums, Different Strokes. After getting all those performers on board, he settled onto a new name for his project: Coywolfe.
“It’d feel disingenuous to use my name when it was a group effort through and through,” he says. “It was nerve-wracking at the start because this is the first thing I’ve ever fronted by myself. But the sessions we’re so fun and easygoing, and came out so well that it really calmed my nerves about doing it fairly early on.”
In other words: He’s still not a solo performer. And he doesn’t intend to be one when he starts booking shows around the Coywolfe name when The Future You Fear is released during the spring. Many of the players on the recording, he says, have committed to playing these songs live alongside him. The trick, really, is figuring out a way to work around the schedules of these busy players. It’s a predicament Cannon knows well himself now, too: Beyond his duties in Birds of Night, Different Strokes and whatever happens with Coywolfe, he’s also picked up two more drum gigs — with Wesley Jensen and LoMETA — in recent months.
So much for not being sure what the future held for him in the wake of Brave Young Lion’s dissolution.
“It’s just great to be busy at this point, no matter whose stuff I’m working on or who I’m working with,” he says. “I don’t plan on going band-less for a stretch any longer than three months anytime again soon.”
We don’t think that’s likely to be an issue for Cannon, either. Not after hearing the first taste of Coywolfe — a song called “Others” that sounds like it’d fit well within a Different Strokes set thanks to its earwormy guitar and synth riffs.
Better still, Cannon’s been kind enough to pass along that debut single this way for us to premiere. Check it out below. Then? Well, just stay tuned, we suppose.
Cover photo of Hunter Cannon by Trey Mitchell.